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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Moderation: what does that even mean anymore? Where did it go?

In today’s day and age, we can define any word in the matter of seconds through the online dictionaries that are available at the palm of our hand, but for some we are unable to demonstrate them.

 

Moderation can be defined as “the avoidance of excess or extremes especially in one’s behavior or political opinions.”

 

If you look through your life what can you honestly say that you do with moderation?  It seems to be we do things like full throttle addicts or nothing at all.  We are either constantly watching tv or not at all. We are either always on our phone or don’t believe in the existence of iphones. There is a healthy component to moderation, because most things can aid or bring you happiness as long as we moderate how often we do things. It seems that our era is missing that sense of self-restraint and control because it is so common for people to be obsessed with one thing or another. We are addicts and we are hoarders.

 

For instance, the social media, what are the chances you see someone walking through campus blindfolded by their phone screen. Probably 9 out of 10. People wake up and the first thing they do is reach for their phone to check their Facebook notifications. In terms of technology, we are intertwined and becoming one. There is no time where people don’t have their cell phones within arms reach, unless it was an accident. We are dependent on our technology and social media that we can’t go a day without it. The awareness and problems of social media only arise because we can’t use it with moderation. We just become social media addicts. People are worried that technology is ruining effective communication skills and scholarly skills. However, this wouldn’t be a problem if we could use technology as a tool and not a lifestyle.

 

How about moderation with food? Clearly evidence, statistics, and personal experience displays that our nation is obese. More and more people are suffering from being overweight, which potentially leads to heart conditions, diabetes and even cancer. The numbers are steadily increasing meaning people are not taking moderation when consuming foods. They eat whatever they want whenever they want. Mcdonalds drive thru, hey why not? In-n-out animal fries? Sure. And then to top it off lets get ice cream for dessert. And people wonder why they are overweight. If we knew how to use moderation effectively we could have that in n out burger every now and then and still remain healthy. But we lack that self control to say “no”.

 

Let’s take the amount of stuff we have as Americans. We live lavish lives. We buy whatever we want. We even continue to buy cool storage to store all the things we buy. Our families all have the junk drawer or closet that collects crap we don’t even need but bought anyway. We are spenders. We want stuff just to say we have it. Hence, why so many people are in debt and can’t pay their mortgage bills. If we could grasp the idea of moderation we wouldn’t have most families with storage units along with their 3000 square foot houses full of stuff they haven’t seen for years.

 

In addition, we often feel there is not enough time in the day to do all the things we have do. There aren’t enough hours in the day to clean the house, or cook dinner, or study for that test but we sure make time for friends, shopping and Facebook stalking. As a society we lack the ability to manage time effectively. If we could grasp the concept of moderation we could have more time in the day, less obesity and less stuff and more money for fun experiences with family and friends. You can have that chocolate bar, you can buy that stuffed animal, just in moderation. A little bit of everything can bring us happiness too right? I promise if we practice moderation in our lives, these arising American issues would fall into place. It is that simple.

 

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We often forget the power of food, more specifically the power of the food industries. I watched the documentary called Hungry for Change, which was a movie created to inform the public about the manipulative ways of the food industries and how they continue to get their customers to come back. It is a mind game, which is why I thought it directly related to the class.

The food industries are making the food to look and smell better so that we are drawn to it. All the foods today from these industries are not nutritionally valuable; they are making products rather than food. As they stated in the film, “we are overfed and starving,” meaning we are eating mass amounts but still hungry because we are lacking nutrients in our diet that fulfill your hunger. However people are used to this momentary feeling after eating these junk foods and learning to like it. These companies have manipulated the chemical structure of their products so that people feel like it is fulfilling but really they are empty calories. Another tactic these companies are using is the advertising and label of the products. These junk foods have commercials or billboards that have these skinny, happy and attractive people consuming their product and people then think that they can feel those feelings just from consuming that product. They have very famous celebrities and athletes that convey this message of “being cool” if you have their product. This is not true however; they do a good job at making people perceive it like that. These companies are also physically changing the food products so that they are more addictive chemicals in them. Lays chips on there package say “you can’t just have one” and this is true because these big industries are chemically changing these foods to make them addicting. They are engineering the food to taste great and have this addictive component. MSG is in 805 of the modern foods. MSG is a chemical used to make rats fat in animal testing. This chemical excited the brain and makes you want to eat more. Therefore, it isn’t entirely our fault that there are these rising numbers of obesity in America. We are human and you are programmed to crave these fats and sugars. Sugar is practically the new cocaine. It is the reason for a lot of the weight gain. People may think they are being healthier and in taking less calories when they have the artificial sugars but it has been proven that these sweeteners make you crave even more carbohydrates. The point being, these companies are altering their food products to get people like us to crave these foods. This helps their business but does not contribute to a healthier society.

This directly relates to the course because it exemplifies the power of the mind. People are learning the powers of the mind and these industries are using it to their advantage. The mind naturally craves these additives and with the enormous amounts of obesity in our country, it really exemplifies the compatibility and power of the mind itself.


The introduction paragraph uses a strong metaphor of thousands of fish swimming at you. This was to exaggerate the overwhelming and overbearing feeling of the media. The media is referred to as “heavy swimmers” because the swimming portrays the fast movement and progression of the social media. It also signifies the squirmy crowds of the media.  The imagery of the swimming was intended to create tension and reality. I wanted it to feel real and let the reader feel their body cringe at the thought of the thousands of fish darting in their direction. This was to embellish the feeling that people, like Nick, get when the social media bombards them in devastating times.

The incorporation of quotes was used in my final writing project as strong examples of how Flynn incorporates her opinion on the social media through her choice of diction. The quote where Flynn compares the social media to war and a fraternity really portrays her view. I thoroughly analyzed the use of her metaphors and why she chose the words she did. She had a purpose and I nitpicked at her word choice to display her purpose.

I incorporated the metaphor “bandwagon” in my writing because it portrays the idea that people just follow what the media does and says. As an example, to further develop this idea I compared it to the president elections where the image the media creates is essential for a successful result. I expanded on the idea of the images the media creates and I used imagery and specifics like the image of “a happily married couple of 25 years that have beautiful children” to exemplify the ideal image that our media has created.

In terms of style, I used some short sentences like “He had no say. He was powerless” for effect. I like the use of short sentences because it breaks up the long, monogamous sentences and creates emphasis on the particular idea that I am trying to convey. I also used rhetorical questions throughout the paper. This was intended to engage the reader and make the writing more conversational rather than informative. It was also another tactic to create variety in the sentence structures. Lastly, to conclude the paper I used opposing, short sentences to open the paper up to affect the reader individually. I wanted the reader to realize the shortcomings of the media weren’t inevitable but a personal choice.

As a whole, I felt that the paper was effective in analyzing Flynn’s opinion and how she relays this through her story. Through her diction, sentence structure and metaphors, Flynn effectively displays her view on the matter. I chose to analyze this aspect of the novel because through her twisted and mysterious novel, I do not think the strong theme of social media should be overridden. It was meaningful and had purpose and should get noticed.


         Heavy Swimmers

      Imagine: a school of thousands of little silver fish heading in your direction. You don’t know where to go or how to dodge them.  You swim away as fast as you can but no matter what direction you turn, they are coming right at you. You frantically turn your head underwater, every which way, trying to find an escape route. You are scared. There is not a way to block them; there is no way to shut them out. They are swimming towards you and they are coming full throttle.

To me, that sounds pretty frightening, slick and slimy fish running into your bare skin. Talk about overwhelming. Well, this is the new social media phenomenon, so watch out. They are heavy swimmers. The media is intensifying as time progresses. As this business is becoming a multi-million industry, boundaries, morals and any respect for privacy are diminishing when they once were considered moral rights. The flashes of camera lights, microphones to the face and the reporters with their notepad are getting to the point where they will do anything to get the next best story, because that is what sells. They will swarm and swim at you and you will be unable to stop them. Okay, it is understandable that maybe the thousands of fish darting on your bare skin is over exaggerating it a little, but as time goes on, it will honestly feel like the reporters from the media are swarming into your life. In the mysterious novel Gone Girl, the author Gillian Flynn, adds an underlying theme of the manipulative and powerful social media.

Flynn incorporates this theme through setting, experiences and character’s thoughts. The social media plays a large role in the criminal case of “missing Amy” and the author relays the message that the media has a way of manipulating people and their thoughts. People rely heavily on the media, far more than we are aware of.   Throughout the investigation of Amy’s disappearance, reporters have crowded outside of Nick’s house to get photos and grasp any scrap of information. They stand outside screaming, “Nick, did you kill Amy?” “Was your wife pregnant?” Additionally he is assaulted with numerous cameras taking shots every time he enters or exits his home. The mass of reporters discouraged him from coming home; there was no privacy or respect afforded to him throughout his devastating time of grief and loss.

Nick describes the intruding media saying, “the camera crews parked themselves on my lawn most mornings. They were like rival soldiers, rooted in shooting distance for months, eyeing each other across no-man’s land, achieving some sort of perverted fraternity.” (370) The author compares the media to war and the soldier men. This illustrates the idea of the mass amounts of men along with the clear determination these men hold. “Rooted in shooting distance for months,” shows that the men acted as if they had been practicing this for a long time and were not going to give up. War is the act of fighting, it is a group of strong and injurious men who have one goal and they are risking their lives to attain it. The fraternity reference portrays the chaos and catastrophe of the group. Flynn chose war and the fraternity as a metaphor because they both have a negative reputation; this exemplifies her disapproving attitude toward the social media that causes great tension and commotion. She easily could have compared the media to teachers or mentors, or something depicting a helpful or supportive nature, but she does not.

The media impacts the population and shapes our opinions. When the media thinks Nick is the killer and that he is a terrible person, the public is quick to accuse Nick of murder and easily despise him. When Nick gives that unofficial interview in the bar and shows off his sensitive side, he confesses his love and mistakes and acts as though he truly cares for Amy and her return, the public rescinds their accusation and realizes that Nick isn’t the bad guy after all. The eyes of the public changed just due to what the media was saying and how Nick was portrayed. People are not coming up with their own ideas or theories, they are looking for trends. We are just looking for the next bandwagon to hop on and the media provides that for us on a daily basis. This is evident in our lives as much as it is in Gone Girl. For example, a big part of the presidential elections is how well or poorly the candidate is perceived by the media. It is crucial for them to represent themselves as well liked and forward thinking so that the media will speak highly of them. The way the news, reporters and other medias talks about the candidates shapes public opinion and ultimately affect the outcome of the results. There are other significant examples that depict this idea of the media controlling and altering opinions.

Flynn also boldly illustrates our cultural dependence on the media. As stated before, it is apparent that we rely on the media for opinions but also for determining a personal image.  Nick’s character portrays this idea because he is constantly seeking the best to act. He is looking to act like a character in a movie or television show. He is trying to act the way he “should” act. This problem only arises because of the social media. The media has set an image and it’s an image that people think they have to conform to. That is why we have so many issues with eating disorders and girls with no self-confidence. Nick felt like he was suppose to be acting a certain way because millions of people were interpreting his every move, his words, his gestures and determining his character and guilt or innocence based on these cues. He kept looking into past movies he has seen or television shows where the spouse loses their other spouse.  This was supposedly going to help him act a certain way. There was rarely a genuine act with Nick. He says, “I have no idea how I am suppose to be doing. There’s no ‘When Your Wife Goes Missing 101’” (52) Nick had this idea that there was a way he should be reacting because obviously his reactions weren’t getting the results he wanted.  He states, “We were being forced to perform the scene that TV viewed expected: the worried but hopeful family.” (60) Like Nick says, the media forces you to act a certain way to create an image, hopefully a well-liked image. And without turning to movies or actors, Nick didn’t know how he should be reacting to any of this.

The media creates this impossible images to conform to. This is why being homosexual, nerdy or overweight is frowned upon. There is this picture perfect world that the media has created and if your not happily married for twenty-five years and have beautiful children then there will be a story on you. Just think about when a celebrity comes out of the closet, you better know that it will be the cover story in four different magazines. It is getting worse as time goes on and the media expands. The media is getting more intrusive in personal lives. People aren’t giving consent anymore, they can say whatever they want. This happened to Nick in the novel when the media was calling him a murderer, cheater, etc. He had no say. He was powerless.

Nick also found it unfair that when a wife goes missing, it is always the husband’s or males in her past life that the media and police think are guilty. The husband is the first to get questioned and accused, why? Well, on the news, it is more common that a male is the criminal rather than a woman. In state or federal prison in 2001, there were nearly nine times as many men as there were women, resulting in about 5,037,000 men and 581,000 women. It is guilt by association. The media’s important figures make the public perceive men as the “bad guy”. Maybe it is because of the feminists out there, or past anger from unequal gender rights, or maybe it is because it is what people see and know, probably all of the above. However, this can be detrimental in certain cases. In Nick’s case, he was completely innocent however presumed guilty until proven innocent. Clearly he did not have the best past record but he was not a murderer. In fact, his wife was simply crazy. In his defense, the media had the power to sway public and official police ideas and perceptions and were able to come to the conclusion that he was guilty. If Amy did not come back and Nick was sent to prison and then death row, would it have been okay to kill an innocent man just because we are quick to assume? Luckily Amy made a mysterious return and Nick’s outcome was much different.  Amy abruptly returns, pitying herself, and crying out “poor me” as she claims she was held captive by Desi. The readers know the truth; she killed Desi, who was a demented helping hand for her, so that people would never know the true story. She murdered him to run away and shift her story to fit her new “plan”. As soon as Amy returns home, the media goes ballistic with cameras, interviews, and questions, immediately.

Nick, admittedly, hates Amy and wants to dispose of her from his life. As they discuss divorce, the media is still playing a large role in making future decision; their reasoning are sourced solely from the perceived opinion of the public. “Every women in the public who’s been cheated on, they don’t stay with the cheat these days. It’s not stand by your man, it’s divorce the fucker.” (393). Nick uses the power of the public as a persuasive method. Amy knows how the powerful media can manipulate the public’s opinion and it is also evident that Amy needs the public on her side; it is a necessity. Without their support, Amy would break. Therefore, Nick knows that and uses that power to convince her to consider a divorce. Towards the end of the novel, the character’s become more aware of the media and its dominance. There is a realization that they must consider the media and consciously be aware of it at all times.

The severity and control of the media is something to be mindful of and this is why Flynn incorporated it into her novel.  She was looking to bring our awareness to the footprint the media leaves behind. It is understandable that technology and the media are growing with immense strength but it is our job as human beings to be aware of its impact. Let the media guide you, not change who are you and your morals. Do and be what you believe in, do not give it too much power.


Imagine: a swarm of thousands of little silver fish heading your direction. You don’t know where to go or how to dodge them.  You swim away as fast as you can but no matter what direction you turn, they are coming right at you. You frantically turn your head underwater, every which way, trying to find an escape route. You’re scared. There isn’t a way to block them; there is no way to shut them out. They are swimming towards you and they are coming full throttle.

To me, that sounds pretty frightening, slick and slimy fish running into your bare skin. Talk about overwhelming. Well, this is the new social media phenomenon, so watch out. They are heavy swimmers. The media is intensifying as time progresses. As this business is becoming a multi-million industry, boundaries, morals and respect of privacy are diminishing. The flashes of camera lights, the microphones to the face and the interviews with their note pad are getting to the point where they will do anything to get the next best story, because that is what sells. They will swarm and you won’t be able to stop them. Okay, it is understandable that maybe the thousands of fish darting your bear skin is over exaggerating it a little, but as time goes on, it will honestly feel like these reporters from the media are swarming in on your life. In the mysterious novel of Gone Girl, the author Gillian Flynn, adds an underlying theme of the manipulative and powerful social media.

Flynn incorporates this theme through setting, experiences and characters thoughts. The social media plays a large role in the criminal case of “missing Amy” and the author relays the message that the media has a way of manipulating people and their thoughts. People heavily rely on the media, more than we are aware of.   Throughout the investigation of Amy’s disappearance, reporters have crowded outside of Nick’s house to get photos and information. They stand outside screaming, “Nick, did you kill Amy?” “Was your wife pregnant?” Along with numerous cameras taking shots every time he entered and exited his home. The mass of reporters discouraged him from coming home; there was no privacy or respect acknowledged throughout the devastating time of grief for his loss.

Nick describes the intruding media saying, “the camera crews parked themselves on my lawn most mornings. They were like rival soldiers, rooted in shooting distance for months, eyeing each other across no-man’s land, achieving some sort of perverted fraternity.” (370) The author compares the media to war and the soldier men. This portrays the idea of the mass amounts of men along with the clear determination of these men. “Rooted in shooting distance form months,” shows that the men acted as if they had been practicing this for a long time and were not going to give up. War is act of fighting, it is a group of strong and injurious men who have one goal and are risking their lives to attain it. The fraternity reference portrays the chaos and catastrophe of the group. Flynn chose war and the fraternity as a metaphor because they both have a negative reputation; this exemplifies her disapproving attitude toward the social media. She easily could have compared the media to teachers or mentors, or something portraying a helpful aid but she doesn’t.

The media impacts the population and conforms their opinions. When the media thinks Nick is the killer, and that he is a terrible person, the public are quick to accuse Nick of murder and despise him. When Nick gives that unofficial interview in the bar and shows off his sensitive side by confessing his love and mistakes and acting as though he really, truly cares for Amy and her return, the public rescinds their accusation and realizes that Nick isn’t the bad guy after all. The eyes of the public changed just due to the fact of what the media was saying. People aren’t coming up with their own ideas or theories they are looking for trends. We are just looking for the next bandwagon to hop on and the media provides that for us. This is evident in our lives as much as it is in Gone Girl. For example, a big part of the president elections is how well the candidate is perceived by the media. It is crucial for them to represent themselves as well liked and futuristic so that the media will speak highly of them. The way the news, reporters and other medias talks about the candidates effect on peoples opinion and whether the opinions of the media is good or bad can really affect the outcome of the result. There are other significant examples that portray this idea of the media controlling and altering opinions.

Flynn also creates this idea of our societies dependency on the media. As stated before, it is apparent that we rely on the media and give it the too much power. Nick’s character portrays this idea because he is constantly looking to act. He is looking to act like a character in a movie or television show. He is trying to act the way he “should” act. This problem only arises because of the social media. The media has set an image and it’s an image that people think they have to form to. That is why we have so many issues with eating disorders and girls with no self-confidence. Nick felt like he was suppose to be acting a certain way and kept looking into past movies he has seen or television shows where the spouse looses their other spouse.  This was supposedly going to help him act a certain way. There was rarely a genuine act with Nick. He says, “I have no idea how I am suppose to be doing. There’s no ‘When Your Wife Goes Missing 101’” (52) Nick had this idea that there was a way he should be reacting because obviously his reactions weren’t getting the results he wanted.  He states, “We were being forced to perform the scene that TV viewed expected: the worried but hopeful family.” (60) Like Nick says, the media forces you to act a certain way to create an image, hopefully a well-liked image. And without turning to movies or actors, Nick didn’t know how he should be reacting to all of this.

The media is creating these impossible images to conform to. This is why being homosexual, nerdy or fat is frowned upon. There is this picture perfect world that the media has created and if your not happily married for twenty-five years and have beautiful children then there will be a story on you. Just think about when a celebrity comes out of the closet, you better know that it will be the cover story in four different magazines. It is getting worse as time goes on. The media is getting more intrusive in personal lives. People aren’t giving consent anymore, the media can say whatever they want. This happened to Nick in the novel when the media was calling him a murderer, cheater, etc. He had no say. He was powerless.

Nick also found it unfair that when a wife goes missing, why is it always the husband’s or males in her past life that the media and police think are guilty. The husband is the first to get questioned and accused, why? Well, on the news, it is more common that a male is the criminal rather than women. In state or federal prison in 2001, there were nearly nine times as many men as there were women, calculating about 5,037,000 men and 581,000 women. It’s guilt by association. The media’s important figures make the public perceive men as the “bad guy”. Maybe it is because of the feminists out there, or past anger from unequal gender rights, or maybe it’s because it’s what people see and know. Probably all of the above. However, this can be detrimental in certain cases. Nick’s for example, he was completely innocent. Clearly he didn’t have the best past record but he wasn’t a murderer, his wife was crazy. In his defense, the media had the power to sway the public and policies ideas and were able to come to the conclusion that he was guilty. If Amy didn’t come back and Nick was sent to prison and then on death row, would it have been okay to kill an innocent man just because we are quick to assume? Why are we giving the media so much power in determining our opinions if it could literally kill an innocent man?

These are ideas to think about and this is why Flynn incorporated it into her novel.  She was looking to bring awareness. It is understandable that technology and the media are growing with immense strength but it is our job as human beings to be aware of its impact. Let the media guide you, not change who are you and your morals. Do and be what you believe in, don’t give it that power.


The idea of metaphor is referring to the metaphorical concept. It is largely more than the choice of diction or language on the page; it is a metaphoric process that happens in thought, often subconsciously. We often think metaphors are just a fancy tool that good authors throw into their writing for an underlying affect, however, in the first chapter of Metaphors We Live By, the author explains that metaphors are created for a comparison and a relation to something else. It is evident that the mind likes to compare and reassure itself. We tend to compare to familiarize yourself with what is going on. If you’re in an unfamiliar place, you look to find anything that reminds you of something else because it brings comfort and awareness. That’s what the metaphorical concept is.

The “argument is war” is an example dispatched in the reading which was an odd way to look at our choices of thought and language. When talking or thinking about an argument, it is a means of defeating the other person. The person you’re arguing with becomes your opponent. It’s a fight of words to see who will win. When you look at the choice of diction used when explaining an argument, it directly correlates with the ideas of war. Like I stated before, we create these metaphors subconsciously to relate things to one another. Although war and arguments have drastic differences, one being that war is an actual act of armed fighting while an argument is simply a conversation, we correlate the two of them through word choice because it provides understanding.

This is a very interesting concept to think about because we aren’t consciously thinking about what we say and how it relates to something else. Another metaphorical concept is the relation to sex in our everyday language.

“I am screwed”

“This blows”

“I’m fucked”

It is ironic that these are negative slangs but if you notice they are sex related. This portrays that idea of metaphors where we aren’t actually referring to the act of sexual intercourse but instead just complaining about our crappy day or situation. The idea of metaphors isn’t purposeful. It isn’t just a fancy way to play with words on a page. Metaphors are embedded in our simple thoughts. Metaphors are much more powerful than just an authors creativity because they provide comfort and relation to the human mind. Metaphors allow us to intertwine our life with bigger issues and ideas that make sense.